Skip Navigation

Sign In or Register


SharePrint Philip Doddridge


Lawyer and sectional leader Philip Doddridge (May 17, 1773-November 19, 1832) was born near Bedford, Pennsylvania. As an infant he moved with his family, including older brother Joseph Doddridge, to Washington County, Pennsylvania, where he lived along Cross Creek at frontier at Doddridge’s Fort. At age 17 he moved downstream to nearby Wellsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia). There he read for the law and became well-known in the area as a great orator. Doddridge achieved success as a circuit lawyer specializing in frontier land disputes in western Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He also founded Philipsburgh, Ohio (now Brilliant).

Doddridge served in the Virginia State Senate from 1804 to 1809, and beginning in 1815 he represented Brooke County intermittently for several terms in the House of Delegates. While in Richmond, he advocated for residents of the western part of the state. He fought to repeal the law that qualified only landholders to vote and became a leader for public education. In 1829, he was one of four delegates selected to represent the northern district of Western Virginia at the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1829–30, convened to address growing east-west sectionalism in Virginia. Doddridge was the leading voice for western reformers. Eastern representatives included James Madison, James Monroe, and John Marshall. Eastern delegates’ resistance to a population-based representation model was influential in creating sentiment for the subsequent separation of West Virginia from Virginia, led by Doddridge protégé Waitman T. Willey.

In 1828, Doddridge was elected to Congress and reelected in 1830. He promoted internal improvements and chaired the House Committee for Washington, D.C. Daniel Webster said of him, “He was the only man I ever feared to meet in debate.” Philip Doddridge died in Washington and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Doddridge County was named in his honor in 1845.

This Article was written by Dan B. Fleming

Last Revised on February 11, 2020

Related Articles


Ambler, Charles H. & Festus P. Summers. West Virginia: The Mountain State. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1958.

Lambert, Oscar D. Pioneer Leaders of Western Virginia. Parkersburg: Scholl Printing, 1935.

Cite This Article

Fleming, Dan B. "Philip Doddridge." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 11 February 2020. Web. 20 June 2024.


There aren't any comments for this article yet.

West Virginia Humanities Council | 1310 Kanawha Blvd E | Charleston, WV 25301 Ph. 304-346-8500 | © 2024 All Rights Reserved

About e-WV | Our Sponsors | Help & Support | Contact Us The essential guide to the Mountain State can be yours today! Click here to order.